The 10 commandments for ski instructors
The opinions expressed here are those of Gary Heins. For all you skiers ‘n’ teachers not reaching your full potential, here’s why:
I. Thou shalt not have any other ski-school gods before us, as we, the lords your gods, are jealous and greedy gods; and thou shalt not take PSIA’s name in vain, nor tell the truth about PSIA or our pyramid-scheme ski schools.
II. Thou shalt buy ski boots too tight even with thin socks, so that your feet may often be cold and numb; and, once your boots “pack-out” in 35 days, thou shalt buy a new pair.
III. Thou shalt be confused about ski technology, full of smoke-n-mirrors and planned obsolescence, often having skis too short for your stability and braking needs.
IV. Thou beginning skiers shalt not be allowed to snowplow or wedge for their initial speed control, because most teachers don’t know how to let you let go of this when the time comes.
V. Thou beginning skiers shalt not be allowed the benefit of ski poles in their first lesson, because most teachers don’t know how to introduce poles.
VI. Thou shalt carve more turns than skid, as we don’t much like promoting skidding even when you need it, even though carving does not slow you down unless you dangerously ski uphill like a runaway truck ramp.
VII. Thou shalt not know about the benefits of intermediate-hardpack linked side-slips or skidded short-swing turns simulating the steep-n-narrow.
VIII. Thou advanced skiers shalt not know the prized secret blocking pole-plant to help you link short turns in powder, crud, and moguls, and to help you have speed-control down the steep-n-narrow.
IX. Thou shalt be led to believe that “parallel skiing” is the main goal, even though parallel is the most natural position for your feet to begin with; thou shalt not realize that it is OK to stem a ski and do one-good-turn-at-a-time even in an advanced class whenever going to a new steepness or snow condition.
X. Thou more cautious and sensitive ski students and low-ranking instructors shalt be deemed “head cases” without access to the banished wiser gentler teachers like Gary Heins; and Thou shalt always be shown how difficult skiing is rather than how easy.
Saint Johns, Ariz.
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